Last Friday, the Cubs designated pitcher Donn Roach for assignment to open up a 40-man roster spot for Mike Olt, whose rehab stint – and, thus, 60-day DL stint – was up. Roach was subsequently waived, and has now been claimed off of waivers by the Reds. Even if Roach had cleared waivers, he would have had the right to elect free agency rather than accept an assignment to Iowa, since he’s already been outrighted once before. Given the obvious interest by the Reds, it’s pretty clear that Roach would have elected free agency anyway.
So, then, the Cubs opted to lose Roach rather than risk losing anyone else on the 40-man roster. Given the Cubs’ need for emergency rotation depth – currently, Clayton Richard is the 5th starter while Tsuyoshi Wada recuperates from a shoulder cramp, and Dallas Beeler probably comes next – the team must feel like it is on solid footing. Eric Jokisch would have been in the mix there, but he’s been out since early June (and the fact that the Cubs didn’t just want to transfer him to the 60-day disabled list rather than DFA’ing Roach probably says a lot about both Jokisch and Roach). A trade is expected at some point this month to shore up the rotation, which will bump back everyone in the emergency group, too.
Roach, 25, had a one-game look-see with the Cubs, but that, combined with his unnerving peripherals at AAA, apparently didn’t give the organization enough confidence to hold onto him. Throw in the fact that, eventually, some of the starters at AA are going to need a rotation spot at AAA, and there you have the decision.
On the Reds, Roach may get a shot in the big leagues later this year if there’s a sell-off in front of him. He’s a guy who could have a big league future, but will need impeccable command, a great defense behind him, and some luck.
Roach is the second pitcher the Cubs have lost on waivers in a week, with Gonzalez Germen going to the Rockies. Remember when they were always on the other side of these kinds of flyers?